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Mohun Bagan and FC Mumbai start I-League campaign

Kolkata, Sep 26 (UNI) Captain Baichung Bhutia may figure in the starting line-up with Mohun Bagan having home advantage begin their I-League campaign against debutant Mumbai FC at Barasat Stadium here tomorrow.

The visitors, after landing here on Tuesday had acclimatised themselves with the humid weather here and were practising twice a day under the watchful eyes of British coach David Booth, who assured an absorbing match on Saturday.

Mumbai FC, consisting of both youth and experienced have the ability to outrun any side and if that sort of thing happens, one can predict on the outcome as both coaches claim to win the first match to keep record straight.

Goalie Kalyan Choubey, a veteran of many a battle, had been banking on the support from Noel Wilson, Selwyn Fernandez, Abhishekh Yadav, Jagdish Pappai, Sanjoy Parte, Alex Ambrose and foreign recruits Felix Abyje, James Desirama and Abel Hammoud, who can make a side solid and dangerous.

Basking in the recent success of winning the state league, Karim Bencherifa, a Moroccon coach, was given a free hand to pick Mohun Bagan's first choice line up to take the Mumbai challenge.

India's captain Baichung Bhutia had been nursing a foot injury since his return from AFC Cup and is likely to start in the first eleven as Bencherifa hinted at a news conferece.

Bhutia donned the colours of Mohun Bagan in the last match, that too in the added time, which was Bagan's last outing.

Bencerifa, like David Booth, refused to single out any player for their success and said his boys were well shaped following recent win.

Asked about controversy of Marcos for his signing, Bencerifa said the team has two foreigners - Peter Odafa in defence and striker Jose Barreto - and they would be enough right now.


Story first published: Friday, September 26, 2008, 20:07 [IST]
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